Friday Night Lights

It was long ago. Very long ago. Sometimes it feels like another lifetime, but if I really put my mind to it, I can hear see it, hear it and feel it.

If Saturday night was date night, Friday night, in the fall, was football Friday.

The football field for Norwood High School was on the grounds. It isn’t now. When they built the “new” high school in 1971, they built it on the football field. So, the high school team took over a stadium that was in another part of Norwood.

When they built that new school, which I toured when I was up for the alumni do, they took away my field of dreams.

I know, I know, it sounds like I have not moved forward, sometimes, but trust me, I have. It is just that as a writer, I tend tu cull memory and look at it as a building block to my life, now.

As I have mentioned, high school was not my favorite part of life. For that, I am glad, because if that is the peak of your life, and you life a long life, you have a long downward slide to ride.

There is one memory, well, actually, it is comprised of snippets of dreams and longings, that sticks with me and I remember it fondly.

I haven’t thought of it for years, but it came to me in my morning hours before life is totally lucid and planned.

There was nothing more fun for me than getting my sequined costume on for the game. We, majorettes, designed them and had them made. We also wore a sequined headband with a feather behind it. We were the Norwood Indians!

At home in my upstairs bedroom, with my radio on WSAI, I’d sit in front of the mirror and apply my heavier than normal makeup. You needed it a bit more theatrical in the evening and nighttime light. I’d apply my liquid black eyeliner and pull it out past my eye, just so. I’d cover whatever zit I had with Cover Girl, put on some great eyeshadow and blush. My eyes were my thing, I wanted people to look at them instead of my big nose.

Vaseline on the front of my teeth was put on just before my lipstick.

I’d tease my hair and spray it so that it wouldn’t move in a hurricane.

Then it was tim for the costume. Socks for under the cow boots, shaved legs that went all of the way up, lotion on my legs that would make it easier to pull up the bathing suit like costume.

I’d hop in the family station wagon and drive down Montgomery Road and park behind the school.

We, majorettes gathered in the locker room before going out. We’d check our hair and makeup and make sure nothing that wasn’t supposed to be was hanging out.

Then, it was Show Time.

My senior year I was head majorette. In my mind, I had to be, since my two older sisters had been. I recall Mr. Phillips mentioning to me after the list of who made majorette was posted, “It was close.”

It is statements like that that knock the feathers out of your pillow and leave you feeling a bit less than. A little less confident, especially when your weren’t confident to start with.

The band got into formation in the parking lot outside the music room. I was out in front and would lead the tribe into the stadium.

That is where my memory really engages me.

When the whistle blew and the drummers began their cadence, we marched around the corner, past the front of the school, around that corner, through the gate, around on the track and onto the field, where we’d stop.

I don’t know if there were only 20 people in the band … but in my mind, the band was big. I hear that tat … tat-tat. Tat … tat-tat.

It was a our stage of life, at the time.

I remember looking across the field, toward the flag pole, and then from side to side, first at our bleachers, where I had hoped my parents had made it on time. Then, I would scan the opponents stand.

The lights were on and darkness from the evening sky were the set for whatever played out on the field.

And then, another whistle and we were of … marching down the field. I don’t know what people saw from the stands, but I know how I felt looking at the stands. I was proud. I was the best that I could make myself … for those nights. For the performance.

Pregame was fun because we just marched and did a couple of poses and then goose-stepped off the field.

Halftime made me nervous. There was a baton routine to remember and the fear of dropping my baton gave me the vapors. Unlike pregame, when I felt confident, when actually twirling the baton, eh, not so much. But I sure had the smile down, and I wasn’t going to let the people in the stands see me sweat!

After the game, we’d hurry out of the stands and head to the breezeway, where the football players should come through, hot, sweaty and muddy. And defeated. Our team lost all of their games that year. But there was something about being among the warriors of the great battle.

If we didn’t have a date after the game, we’d head to Frisch’s and watch those with dates come in. Maybe we’d cruise mainliner, looking for cute boys, always hoping that our eyes would lock with someone and magic would wrap its wand around us and life would be a Gidget movie.

When I see photos of me in my majorette uniform, I roll my eyes and then smile or sort of laugh. Of course, I look at my thighs and think, yep, I should have tried running.

I got rid of my majorette costumes before I graduated from high school. My dad’s boss’s daughter was going to be a majorette, so I gave them to her.

After the brouhaha of our Senior Night, I was done with being a majorette. Pretty much done with high school.

But I still love to march and twirl things. I also can spend some time watching Ohio State’s band doing their stadium entrance, on YouTube. I march every step with them and when that drum major comes goose-stepping down the field, I pray that he doesn’t drop his baton.

Susan

2 Comments Add yours

  1. lulu says:

    It’s wonderful to have those special memories that erase the parts we didn’t like about high school. Keep on strutting!

    Like

    1. Susan DeBow says:

      I will keep on strutting! That is the only way to get through life. And thanks so much for writing!

      Susan

      Like

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